Man grimacing from ringing in his ear.

There is an inconsistency in symptoms of tinnitus; they seem to come and go, at times for no evident reason at all. Maybe you’re climbing into bed one night and, evidently out of nowhere, your ears start ringing something fierce. As you lie in bed, you consider your day, and there are no clear triggers for this event: no loud music, no screeching fire alarms, nothing that could explain why your tinnitus chose 9 PM to flare up.

So maybe it’s the something you ate. Ordinarily we don’t associate the idea of food with hearing, but there’s a bit of research and evidence to suggest that certain foods can make tinnitus worse. In order to steer clear of those foods, it’s important to find out what they are.

Some Foods Which Activate Tinnitus

Let’s just dive right in, shall we? You won’t want to experience a food triggered tinnitus episode so it’s important to identify what foods can trigger it. Certain foods to avoid could include:


At the top of the list of items to steer clear of are alcohol and tobacco. You will certainly want to abstain from smoking and drinking in order to lessen your chance of a tinnitus episode despite the fact that tobacco isn’t really a food.

Your overall health can be significantly affected by tobacco and alcohol especially your blood pressure. Your tinnitus is progressively more likely to flare up the more you drink and smoke.


One of the best predictors of tinnitus episodes is your blood pressure. Your tinnitus worsens when your blood pressure rises. That’s the reason why when you make your list of foods to avoid, sodium should be at the top. You’ll need to significantly reduce your sodium consumption whether you use salt on everything or you just love eating french fries.

There are many foods that are remarkably high in sodium, also, like ice cream (which you don’t normally think of as tasting very salty). You’ll want to watch out for sodium levels in everything you eat to avoid a surprise tinnitus episode.

Fast Food

If you’re staying away from sodium, it should come as no surprise that you should also be avoiding fast food. The majority of fast-food restaurants (even the ones that claim they are a healthier choice) serve food that is packed with salt and fat. And, once again, that’s going to have a substantial consequence on your blood pressure and, hence, your tinnitus. Fast food outlets also usually serve shockingly huge beverages, and those beverages are mostly sugar. Yes you guessed it, sugar is next on the list.

Sweets And Sugars

We all love candy. Well, maybe not everybody, but most of us. Every now and then, you’ll encounter someone who genuinely prefers veggies over candy. We try not to judge.

Sadly, sugar can really throw off the balance of glucose in your body. And as you’re attempting to go to sleep at night, a little disruption to that balance can mean a lot of tossing and turning. In the quiet of the night, while you lie there awake, it becomes a lot easier to begin to hear that ringing.


So, we saved caffeine for last because, well, it’s a tough one. Giving this one up is a hard pill to swallow. But your sleep cycle can be dramatically affected if you have any caffeine later in the day. And your tinnitus is more likely to flare up if you don’t get quality sleep.

So it’s not actually the caffeine by itself that’s the problem, it’s the lack of sleep. Change over to a beverage that doesn’t have caffeine at night and save your caffeine for the morning.

What Are Your Best Practices?

This list is by no means exhaustive. You’ll want to talk to your hearing professional about any dietary changes you might need to make. And it’s worth bearing in mind that everybody will be impacted in their own way by dietary modifications, so in order to keep an eye on what is working and what isn’t, it might be a good idea to keep a food journal.

Recognizing what foods can trigger a tinnitus flare up can help you make smarter decisions going ahead. When you begin tracking what you eat, and what happens to your ears subsequently, you might begin to detect patterns, and that can remove some of the mystery out of your tinnitus symptoms.

If you have that evening of coffee, at least you know what you’re dealing with.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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